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Foreign Fruits: 1905

Circa 1905. "The Basin -- Baltimore, Maryland." Panorama made from three 8x10 inch glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1905. "The Basin -- Baltimore, Maryland." Panorama made from three 8x10 inch glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Pratt, Calvert and Cheapside

The street between the Fountain Hotel and Border's is Calvert. A December 23, 1905, F. Border's Son ad in the Fruit Trade Journal and Produce Record places the location at Pratt, Calvert and Cheapside (the latter no longer exists). Light Street doesn't end at Inner Harbor, but runs along the west side of it and continues through South Baltimore.

The Basin = Inner Harbor

There was a long discussion about location on an earlier version of this photo. In the end we concluded that Light Street ran between the Fountain Hotel and F. Border's Son, both of which face onto Pratt Street, so definitely Inner Harbor.

The steamship in the background

is the iron-hulled Anthony Groves, Jr., launched 18 February 1893 and christened by the namesake's granddaughter, Louisa Groves. It was built by the Hillman Ship & Engine Building Company at Philadelphia for the Baltimore & Philadelphia Steamboat Company (the "Ericsson Line"), founded by Groves, and at the time was the largest vessel operating on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at 210 feet in length and a gross tonnage of 605 tons. The Depression took its toll on the B&PSBCo and the vessel was reduced to a barge and converted to a gasoline tanker in 1933 for the Chesapeake Oil Transport Company, Inc. Its career almost ended in tragedy when the Groves exploded on Chesapeake Bay in tow of the tug Frances on 6 April 1936, killing the barge's three crewmen. The following year Baltimore's Harbor Towing Corporation bought the hull and rebuilt it as the tank barge Tarco No. 1 to transport tar to Philadelphia from Baltimore. It was broken up in 1947 at Baltimore by the Boston Metals Company.

So many men

And not a single woman? I'd imagine that there are few more gender-segregated spaces in the turn-of-the-century urban landscape than the wharfside. It's a joy to look at all the little interactions - clustered conversations, side-by-side tête-à-têtes, collective inspection of goods. Magnificent!

Over a Century Ago

Not really that long as history measures things, but lots is different! Oyster dredging fleet is almost all bugeyes, not skipjacks like the few survivors in existence now (even fewer of them actually dredge); steamboats carry passengers to Philadelphia and New York; all the transportation of cargoes from the docks inland is horse and cart.

Where is this "basin?" Same as today's Inner Harbor?

All gone now

The steamship company was headquartered in the Inner Harbor on Light St., so I suppose that's what we're looking at. Sure looks different today, though--pretty much everything that existed back then is gone, at least on this side of the harbor. Federal Hill is on the other side, and that's largely the same as it would have been then.

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